WHO HELPS YOU OUT IN THE GARDEN? Is it your spouse? Or is it, perhaps, something which flies, hops or slithers? Here at A Garden for the House, there are a number of creatures who make themselves useful. Take, for instance, the handsome frog pictured up top. He and his kin lounge in a fountain in my rose garden during the day, and eat countless harmful bugs at night. And here are some other friends who pitch in and help without being asked:
Anyone remember Gerta the Garter Snake? Many of you said hello to her last summer. The rest of you shrieked when I showed you these pictures. She has returned, after what must have been a very long winter rest. I’m happy to have her around — she consumes an enormous number of harmful insects.
Other great insect eaters are the toads who linger in my Herb and Kitchen Gardens. I found the youngster pictured up top hopping merrily across the lawn the other day. The lawn had just been mowed, so he (or she) is wearing tiny blades of grass as a stylish hat.
Then there is the colorful, black-and-red-striped turtle who wandered into my Woodland Garden. Maybe one of you can tell me the kind of turtle this is. (Update: Reader Dawn G. says it’s a box turtle). Like frogs, toads and snakes, turtles include insects in their diet, too.
Consuming thousands of mosquitoes each evening are the Chimney Swifts who spend their summers in one of the uncapped chimneys here. On rare occasions a swift will lose its grip, and drop, Santa Claus-like, into the house. I’ve become adept at rescuing these birds which are on the Endangered Migratory Birds List. I photographed the one above (it is clinging to my bedroom door-frame) just before releasing it outdoors.
I could go on and on, and tell you about the ladybugs and Praying Mantises who feast on aphids, or the stray cats who rid the garden of voles and moles. But I won’t, because I’d like to hear from you. Which creatures lend you a hand in the garden?
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